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Hepat Mon. 2015 Feb 5;15(2):e25067. doi: 10.5812/hepatmon.25067. eCollection 2015 Feb.

The effect of berberis vulgaris extract on transaminase activities in non-alcoholic Fatty liver disease.

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Department of Medical Surgical, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, IR Iran.
Department of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, School of Pharmacy, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, IR Iran.
Gastroenterohepatology Research Center, Nemazee Hospital, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, IR Iran.
Department of Medical Surgical, School of Nursing, Fasa University of Medical Sciences, Fasa, IR Iran.
Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Lorestan University of Medical Sciences, Khoramabad, IR Iran.



Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most prevalent liver disorder in western countries and an important cause of liver cirrhosis, as well as liver failure. Up to now, 20‒40% of the individuals suffer from this disorder and its prevalence is estimated around 5‒30% in Asia. The NAFLD is one of the most prevalent causes for increases in liver enzymes and has a close relationship with obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and type II diabetes. However, no definite treatment has been identified for it yet.


The present study aimed to investigate the effect of berberis vulgaris extract in inducing changes in liver enzymes levels.


The present clinical trial was conducted on 80 patients, including 32 males (40%) and 48 females (60%), who were randomly assigned into two groups of case and control. All the patients had ultrasound evidence of lipid accumulation in the liver and increases in liver enzymes. The case group received two capsules (750 mg) containing berberis vulgaris extract every day for 3 months, while the control group was treated with placebo. The weight, liver transaminases levels and lipid profiles of the two groups were assessed before, during, and after the study.


In the case group, the mean serum levels of alanine transaminase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST) decreased from 49 to 27.48 and 48.22 to 29.8 u/L, respectively, which was statistically significant compared to the control group (P < 0.001, P < 0.001). In the control group, the mean of ALT and AST decreased from 50.4 to 46.8 and 45.7 to 44.9 u/L, respectively. The difference was not statistically significant. In addition, a significant decrease was observed in weight, triglycerides, and cholesterol, while no significant change was found in fasting blood sugar, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL).


Considering the significant decrease in the liver enzymes, triglycerides and cholesterol after using berberis vulgaris extract, further studies with larger sample sizes will identify the accurate dose as well as duration of consumption for this extract, to recommend in the treatment of patients with NAFLD.


Alanine Transaminase; Aspartate Transaminase; Berberis; Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease; Triglycerides

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